History of Art



London and Paris, c.1700 - c.1850

The course will involve close reading of texts and so the best preparation for the course will be careful looking.

In London visit the Foundling Hospital, The Wallace Collection, Dr Johnson's House Museum and the Tate Britain. UCL Art collections has a considerable collection of  French Revolutionary prints English and French caricature from the 18th and 19th centuries so try to get familiar with these.

If you can get to Paris,  visit the Place Vendôme, the church of the Invalides, the Pantheon  the gardens of the Palais royal (and the surrounding architecture) and the Galerie Vivienne just north of there (one of the best-preserved  of the Arcades that Walter Benjamin made famous); as well as the C18 and early C19 painting collections in the Louvre. In the Musée Carnavalet in a noble city palace (Hôtel) in the marais district is a great collection of Revolutionary objects and images. Other 'hôtels' in the Marais and the Faubourg St Germain (many turned into museums) are worth visiting.

If possible, try to find your way around both cities (use a walking or bus tour if you are not familiar with the geography) and think about the types of space you are occupying: which aspects of the landscape are official, which are unofficial; what has evolved and what has been cultivated? Look out for hubs or exclusionary spaces and areas which have been regenerated. This will get you thinking about the problems that will be engaged in the course.

Reading should not be learning texts to the letter at the moment but about forming ideas and opening perspectives:

H de Balzac, The History of the Thirteen, Trans H Hunt. London: Penguin, 1978. (Opening chapter)

T. Crow Painters and Public Life in C18 Paris, 1985

G. Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1st published 1967, English translation 1984

B. Fort, The Other Hogarth: Aesthetics of Difference, 2001. (No need to read every essay but  look at the methodologies used)

M. Hallett, The Spectacle of Difference, 1999